"However each of you celebrates the season, I hope it's wonderful."
Those words, and the experience of the evening, changed me. I had been complaining, quietly, about the fact that Vita had changed from having a 'Christmas party' to a 'Holiday celebration'. I protested the fact that 'it's Christmas, damn it' to any who would listen. Even so, I understood the 'pressure' placed on us all and the need to 'compromise'. But it pissed me off.
But then, when I got to the celebration, I chose to sit at a table where we knew virtually no one well. And over the course of the next hour or so watched the incredibly wonderfully diversity of the agency as people mixed and mingled. The party was full of racial diversity, religious diversity, sexual diversity, ability diversity, it was also full of a wonderful camaraderie. Where there should have been tension, there was none. Where hostilities would have been predicted, there was none. While diversity has many faces, joy has but one source. And there was laughter aplenty.
People came dressed as themselves.
People came expecting welcome and receiving it.
It's what we believe in as an agency, it's just rare to see it practiced. So easily, so smoothly.
So when Manuela wished us all, in our uniqueness, to celebrate, in our diversity, it seemed really right. And my attitude seemed really petty and completely childish. It takes a bigger heart to live in a bigger world. I needed to make room in my chest. And so, I did.
I'm cool with inclusion. I just didn't realize that I had to go about the business of including ... too.